#10 Tips to Create a Wildly Successful Virtual Event
To create something exceptional, your mind needs to focus on the tiniest details. While the major factors make the event, minute factors transform it. With Covid-19 turning our lives upside down, physical gatherings seem like a far fetch idea. Virtual gatherings have become a part of our lives and we are adapting to this new lifestyle.
Social media platforms and online applications have a medium to host events ranging from conferences, interactive, entertainment, online gigs, talks, and a lot more. A year or two back we were still talking about the future and potential of events taking place online. However, one crisis and we are already adopting what was the talk of the distant future.
Caption: The future of the physical event will now be virtual. Source: ApolloEntertainment/Pixabay
Youtube, BookMyShow, Zoom, Facebook, Instagram, GoToWebinar, Vimeo, YouNow, CrowdCast, and a lot more have become the go-to platforms for organizing all kind of events. However, every rage comes to an end if not constructed creatively and entertainingly. To make online events a lot more fun than being mundane, Entrepreneur India spoke to Varun Chibber, Founder and Director of Apollo Live Entertainment who being an expert event manner planner, has moved towards virtual events.
"Virtual events are on the rise. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, businesses have been tested time and again. Digital was always a thing however now it has become an even stronger business tool. You either adapt or fall. So hosting a virtual event is the perfect way to engage, entertainment both business investors and viewers. All you need is to keep people hooked," said Chibber.
To create an impactful event all you need are few tricks and the Chibber who is expert at curating local talent events tells us how to create a virtual event that people enjoy and can't stop talking about:
Have A Strategy To Follow
Just like physical events, virtual events require meticulous planning. As everything is streamed live, one needs to be sure everything goes off without a glitch. The last thing you want is people tuning out from your event.
"Your first step is to understand your audience. This will give you an idea of what your audiences are interested in. Then allow yourself some time and curate a customized event as per their taste," he explains.
Structuring the event is the next part. Just like in-person events, one needs to know what shape and size to opt for. Webinar format, workshop series, webchat series, conferences, or hybrid events are some options to pick from.
To make the organizing of event smooth, Chibber recommends a few essential pointers that one should consider when organizing a virtual event:
Ask yourself if this is a live event or something on-demand?
Is there going to be a registration fee or it's free?
Do you want to do it independently or get sponsors on-broad?
What key performance indicators and data you want to track?
Are you looking to gather some information throw your virtual show via survey/poll?
Getting The Right Partner
A virtual event comes in various forms. In case you thought picking any platform to live-stream would do the work, you really need to start your homework once again. You need to have a clear vision of which platform fits your brand.
"Just like an on-ground event, you need to right the right platform. You wouldn't organize a traditional wedding at a club, similar even here you need to pick a venue. It’s vital to find a partner who can deliver the vision and goals that your company has," he said.
Get clarity on the following:
Do you have distribution technology that saves and broadcasts content on multiple platforms at a time?
Do you want the telecast locally or globally?
Is an e-commerce space perfect for your content?
Do you need to opt for video conferencing?
Should you integrate with social media?
"One you have transparency on this, you are great to go," adds Chibber who was planning an event with ten thousand attendees at Mahalaxmi Race Course in Mumbai before the Covid-19 outbreak. And now adopting an ongoing trend he is organizing virtual concerts featuring artists like Zaeden, Arjun Kunango, and others.
When we say timing, it's not just the length of the event but also the date and time of hosting the same. Before you pick a date make sure you ain't clashing with any major holiday or event. If you are looking to make it an international event, consider the time zones.
"Accommodating all attendees becomes difficult, especially when you want to host a virtual event on a global scale. During such a time, either pick a time zone that suits multiple countries or you can host multiple such events for different countries as per their time and maybe tweak it according to their preference. Also, try to have it live-streamed simultaneously on other platforms so it can be stored online and people can come back and watch it" he said.
Promotion Is Important
Budget for the promotion cost. You are already saving tons on the event cost; to make it a thriving opportunity, promotion is essential. At the end of the day, your ROI is higher than an in-person event.
"People won't know until you use online platforms and talk about what you are organizing. There are many companies organizing similar events - through advertising tell consumers what makes you stand out from the crowd. Just how billboards are needed, here posting on social media and boosting them is needed," Chibber highlights.
Where and how to begin?
Pick the topmost talent as they are your selling point.
Promote on the popular event sites and pages.
Put out eye-catching creatives.
Market through the right channels and influencers.
Have a mailer blast.
Utilize keywords to optimize SEO.
Interact with The Participants and Make Them Interact
Gone are the days of passive audiences. It's a two-way street now. Want people to talk about your brand? Strike a conversation first.
"Until they are not hooked, nothing will work out. No matter how hard you have tried. Involve your viewers in forms of polls, giveaways, quizzes, puzzles, surveys, or Q&A. Let them ask live questions during the webinar. Give mileage, let them be seen. You can also create a chat room for people to interact," he suggests.
In case you are wondering how this might help? The whole point of doing this is to create an effective and intimate virtual equation.
Pick The Right Tech
The platform you pick plays a vital role. Remember the place you are hosting the audience should connect with your viewers. Not every platform is apt for everyone.
"What Millennials might like, Generation X might not. Millennials have seen both the ages they are okay with trying out formal platforms but Gen X likes something quick and easy. While a mature audience would like a proper login process with security, one size doesn't fit all," he explains.
Do Get Sponsors Involved
The audience is the soul of the event, but a backbone is always required to run the show. That's where sponsorship comes in. You can attract sponsors if your event is in sync with their goals and aspirations.
"Once the sponsor steps in, you can actually form various packages with different advancement and price. Having sponsors give you leverage to reach a large number of people," he said.
What is it that you have and others don't? Have something that draws the crowd towards your event. Get a keynote from someone popular or add a unique aspect to it.
A speech or chat with an industry expert, celebrity and influencer, always work. That itself is the major selling point, promote that the most. If you don't have people, have a great idea. Organize something like a live house for book readers, game challenges, live cocktail party, storytelling, stand up gigs, or maybe a live audio event.
Or another way to go around is to support native talent and connect with the viewers. "Like we as a company support local talent equally, you can too. This key factor here is that it helps one connect with audiences looking for a more concentrated experience. It's also innovative and give artists a platform they otherwise might not have had," said Chibber.
Another great tactic that has worked for ages is incentives that often make people attend events. Where there is again, people turn up.
"You need to at times add a little something. Have a lucky draw or maybe the best answers or questions win signed merchandise. Have virtual benefits like giving free coupons or discount vouchers. This helps give the customer value," he said.
The way the landscape is evolving, digital continues to lead and solidify its position. Like it or not, the way we consume knowledge and entertainment has changed and all you need is to experiment and create your own best in this space. When the ROI is higher, we bet your entrepreneurial brain can navigate its way and organize some 'HOT-Selling' events even in the online vertical.
Priyadarshini Patwa is the Features Editors of Entrepreneur India and hosts an Instagram show every Friday named ‘Lighten Up’, about people from different walks of life and talk about their work and beyond. She handles the lifestyle, features, technology, entertainment segments and also is responsible for the Digital Covers. Previously she has worked with MensXP, a Times of India entity and Deccan Chronicle.
She’s @Priyanka_Patwa on Twitter and @priyadarshinipatwa on Instagram.